Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I say my son is a Martian.

I know there are going to be some sensitive folks out there who think I am being insensitive. I mean, I am basically calling my son an alien from another planet. Before I am judged too harshly, let me tell you why I came up with this name for him.

When he was little, before we had any idea that he had Autism, allergies, or Epilepsy, my son had rather odd food preferences and eating rituals.

Story 1: Daycare Eccentricities.

Before I quit my rather lucrative sales career to stay at home/go back to school, my son would go to a very nice daycare facility literally 1/4 mile from my house.  He started there at 6 months, this is right before his first seizure, and well before he got the Autism diagnosis. Needless to say, I was oblivious to his oddities and had no concerns until the day "Nancy" (changed name.) called me at my office to come and see something in regard to James.  James was about 10 months by this time, so a little older. Well, being a first-time mom, I completely panicked and rushed right over. I went to James' room, the infant room, and guess what I saw? James, like the other three babies, was sitting in a high-chair, nothing weird right? However, while the other "babies" were picking up their cheerios and feeding themselves, "Nancy" was having to drop the cheerios in James' mouth like a baby bird. Was it odd that he would not pick them up? Yes, and a little concerning. But that was not the strangest part. The strangest thing of all is that if she did not drop the cheerio in his mouth just right, he would spit it out and drop it on the floor, using his HAND. I am not kidding. So for some reason only he knows, he could not or would not pick up the cheerios, but could drop them on the floor. Finally, at about 17 months, he started to really feed himself, despite having a serious bout of seizures and a consequential hospital stay. However, it would take me two more years to get him to use a fork,spoon and napkin.

Story 2: Just leave a trail of crackers.

As I mentioned in my first blog, James used to live off of bread items, milk, and starburst. All very bad for him. When he was about two years old, he went through a bout of not eating anything I put in front of him. He would sit at the table with us and eat nothing. When he would grow tired of our begging and pleading to eat, he would get down and go play. Eventually, my husband realized that James would eat things if we just left them "out" . Ken would place goldfish crackers, or something of this nature on the table, coffee table, or some other reachable surface. James would sneak over and pick them up and eat them. However, like a spooked bird, he would leave the food if he thought we were looking at him. Don't ask me why this is so, I have no idea. I thought this was a singular affair until a friend of mine, who also has a kid with autism, told me a similar story of how she fed her son in a similar fashion. Eventually, he grew out of this phase and started eating at the table with us. Honestly, because I have no inner sense of dread, I thought it was a cute habit of his.

Story 3: James the Cookie Monster

This is an ongoing story for me.  James is now at a phase where he seems to eat a crazy amount of food for his size. (49 inches and 55 lbs.)  I remember the first time I told his doctor how much he eats for breakfast. He struggled to disguise the amazement in his eyes.  Let me tell you and you can judge for yourself. By the time James was 4, he was averaging: 4-5 eggs, 2-3 pieces of bacon, and 1 bowl of cereal with milk every single day. Before you think this sounds excessive, please understand that I sweep my kitchen floor roughly a thousand times a day because at least 3/4 of the food ends up on the floor.

The reason I call this phenomenon the "Cookie Monster Anomaly" should be obvious to anyone who watched or still watches Sesame Street. Cookie monster was always eating cookies, but, because he is a Muppet, he obviously does not have a digestive system. (Trust me, I know, I am a nursing/nutrition student.) Therefore, all the cookies he "ate" ended up on the platform in front of him or on the floor. Now that you have that mental image, you can surely understand what I mean when I say James eats like Cookie Monster.

My theory as to why he does this has led me to conclude he is, in fact, a Martian. I mean honestly, if Martians have invaded our planet, they would want for all of us to think that they are "eating" our food, even though they are not. Plus, if they live with someone as oblivious as me, they know that person will sweep up food crumbs for years without an ounce of suspicion. Honestly, that is what I have done.

Finally, when James finally starting eating real food and gaining weight, I had to go against everything that I had heard was healthy from my Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, the FDA, and my son's pediatrician. The truth is, even though Calcium and Vitamin D are very important, some kids simply cannot tolerate dairy products. Although whole grains are very important to digest health, gluten can damage the intestinal linings for some. So, James has a particular diet, which negates roughly 148 foods, and preservatives. A true "Martian Diet". You know what? He has never been healthier. So, I guess I can maintain his diet until he has to go back to his home planet and report to his Martian superiors.

I hope it isn't too soon though, I love that little Martian!

Cheers and have a great day!!!


  1. gleeken shatzba, nanoo nanoo! ;)
    Amazing adventure you are on!! My heart goes out to you... <3

  2. I love it! You are such a creative writer! Hope to see you in the Spring!

  3. Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing. I am contemplating moving to GF/CF diet for my SPD son and your blog and recipes makes the mountain ahead less daunting. Thank you to you and your little lovely Martian : )